Jayson Tatum has prepared response ready just in case he doesn’t win Finals MVP

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum shared his personal thoughts on the NBA Finals MVP award and if it would matter to him if he doesn’t win the award this season.

Tatum and the Boston Celtics are currently up 3-1 in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks heading into Game 5 on Monday night.

“It’s important, but it’s not the main thing,” Tatum said. “Isiah Thomas didn’t win Finals MVP every time. Tim Duncan didn’t win Finals MVP every time. Larry Bird – Steph Curry only has one. Kobe [Bryant] won two out of five championships. As a competitor, you want to win and accomplish everything in front of you.

“But I would not the slightest bit be sad that I didn’t win Finals MVP. I would be ecstatic just to win the Finals.”

It’s no surprise that Tatum would simply be happy to capture his first title in his NBA career, but it is refreshing to see that he does care about winning the award. However, it doesn’t seem like that needs to happen for him to be happy with Boston’s potential title run.

While Boston still needs to win another game to take home the title this season, it certainly is in a great spot to do so.

The Celtics took a 3-0 series lead over Dallas before losing Game 4, but teams that have been up 3-0 in a seven-game series are a perfect 156-0 all time, including 14-0 in the NBA Finals.

Tatum’s play has been a key reason why Boston is in the driver’s seat to win this series. The five-time All-Star is averaging 20.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game in the Finals, but his efficiency has taken a hit in the series.

An All-NBA selection this season, Tatum is shooting just 36.5 percent from the field and 29.0 percent from 3-point range. His field-goal percentage pales in comparison to that of his teammate Jaylen Brown, who is shooting 49.2 percent from the field while averaging 20.8 points per game in the Finals.

Boston’s run has been a team effort, as Jrue Holiday led the way in Game 2 of this series, scoring 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field.

While Tatum’s scoring numbers haven’t been as great as they usually are, he has found a way to get involved on the glass and as a passer to help Boston take a commanding lead.

If the Celtics win Game 5 on Monday, it’ll be interesting to see who is voted as the Finals MVP. It’s possible that Tatum could swing the voting for the award in his favor with a big game in Boston.

Game 5 is scheduled to tip off at 8:30 p.m. EST from TD Garden on Monday night.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.